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Extended unemployment benefits and early retirement: program complementarity and program substitution

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  • Lukas Inderbitzin
  • Stefan Staubli
  • Josef Zweimüller

Abstract

This paper explores how extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits targeted to older workers affect early retirement and social welfare. The trade-off of optimal UI between consumption smoothing and moral hazard requires accounting for the entire early retirement system, which often includes extended UI and relaxed access to disability insurance (DI). We argue that extended UI generates program complementarity (increased take-up of UI followed by DI and/or regular retirement benefits) and program substitution (increased take-up of UI instead of DI). Exploiting Austria's regional extended benefit program, which extended regular UI benefits to up to 4 years, we find: (i) program complementarity is quantitatively important for workers aged 50+; and (ii) program substitution is quantitatively relevant for workers aged 55+. We derive a simple rule for optimal UI that accounts for program complementarity and program substitution. Using the sufficient statistics approach, we conclude that UI for older workers was too generous and the regional extended benefit program was a suboptimal policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 119.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:119

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Keywords: Early retirement; unemployment; disability; policy reform; optimal benefits;

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References

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  1. Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Does Raising the Retirement Age Increase Employment of Older Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Tomi Kyyrä & Ralf A. Wilke, 2007. "Reduction in the Long-Term Unemployment of the Elderly: A Success Story from Finland," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 154-182, 03.
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Cited by:
  1. Rafael Lalive & Camille Landais & Josef Zweimüller, 2013. "Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.15, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. Ola Lotherington Vestad, 2012. "Labour supply effects of early retirement provision," Discussion Papers 717, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Maciej Lis & Agnieszka Kamińska & Aart-Jan Riekhoff & Izabela Styczynska, 2013. "The Impact of Institutional and Socio-Ecological Drivers on Activity at Older Ages," CASE Network Reports 0115, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2013. "Does raising the early retirement age increase employment of older workers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 17-32.

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